Unlike red dot sight and holographic sight, the best rifle laser sight is all about optimizing dot visibility in different brightness conditions and at the longest range possible. Because of the inherent rifle weight due to attachments such as a 1000 yard rifle scope, and the way the whole body is used to hold and aim it, a rifle laser sight can get away with being bulkier and heavier than the pistol counterparts. However, there are some excellent versatile options if you’d like to keep the weight down.
What are the benefits of attaching a high-quality laser sight to your rifle? To start off, a perfectly zeroed laser sight will provide an alternative aiming option. If you are unable to get a clear sight picture through conventional sights, or you cannot bring the rifle to eye level at all, a laser sight will be more than enough to provide an accurate point of aim.
Another important advantage is the ability to acquire the target more quickly. As you’re raising the rifle, you’ll naturally aim it towards the target, and through laser sight, you can adjust to a perfect bullseye as soon as you’re aiming down sights. Models with an integrated tactical light will further increase the visibility without significantly raising the overall weight.
Laser sights come in all shapes and sizes, and in combination with a variety of other equipment. There’s plenty of appealing and innovative solution that ends up being a gimmick without a real value of use. The combinations can fall into the same trap, providing subpar performance when compared to individual components. Luckily, we’re here to provide the list of the best rifle laser sights for you, and I’ll be sure to cover as many quality solutions as possible.
Best Rifle Laser Sight 2020: Our Picks
|Product||Weight||Waterproof||Battery Life||Our Rating|
|Sightmark LoPro Designator||6.2 oz||Yes||27 Hours||4.7|
|Streamlight TLR-8||2.64 oz||Yes||18 Hours Laser Only, 1.5 Hours Combined||4.5|
|Pinty Laser Sight||4.5 oz||Yes||N/A||4.2|
|Steiner eOptics DBAL-I2||8.0 oz||Yes||3+ Hours||4.9|
|Streamlight 88090 ProTac||10.8 oz||Yes||1-22 Hours||4.5|
|7 oz||Yes||18 Hours Laser, 48 min Light, 38 min Combined||4.5|
|LaserMax Spartan||1.3 oz||N/A||4+ Hours||4.5|
|Holosun LS221G||6.7oz||Yes||4+ Hours||4.8|
|Battery Life||27 Hours|
To start off the best rifle laser sight list, let’s take a look at a conventional, no-nonsense option from Sightmark. The LoPro Designator is an excellent laser-only sight with a rugged, low profile design allowing it to be attached in front of the high-mount optical sight without impairing the vision. You have a choice between dark earth or black casing color, while the laser itself comes in green.
Despite the low profile design, the LoPro Designator has hand-adjustable windage and elevation knobs. You’ll be able to adjust on the fly and with ease, instead of using a coin or a dedicated tool for a more compact sight. Activating the sight can be done by pressing the button on the casing, or through the wired pressure pad for faster activation. When not in use, the connector plug is tightly sealed by the attached cap.
Unscrewing the cap by hand lets you access the battery for quick replacement, although, with the 27 hours of battery life, you’ll rarely have to do it. Visible up to 50 yards in the daytime, LoPro Designator’s performance shines at night, quite literally, as it can reach up to 600 yards.
Built out of high-performance thermoplastic, it’s resistant to heat, corrosion, water, and shock damage. The Sightmark LoPro Designator is one of the best rifle laser sights thanks to the convenience of use, power of the laser, and excellent battery life. In combination with a highly competitive price, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option.
|Additional Attachment||Tactical Light|
|Wavelength||640-660nm or in Green|
|Battery Life||18 Hours Laser Only, 1.5 Hours Combined|
The Streamlight TLR-8 provides a high-quality package at a reasonable price. A combination of a laser sight with a powerful tactical light comes with a universal mounting option applicable to rifles and pistols alike. If you’re looking for one laser sight to service all of your weapons, TLR-8 is one of the best options available.
The laser is available in red or green color and has a battery life of 18 hours when used without the tactical light, providing a versatile option that can be used at the range, and for self-defense alike. Tactical light uses LED technology to deliver 500 lumens and a beam that can reach 140 meters. On its own, or in combination with the laser sight, it can last for 90 minutes, which is more than reasonable for a package of this size.
Highly durable thanks to the anodized aluminum construction, Streamlight TLR-8 has an IPX4 water-resistant rating and operating temperature range of -20 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Backed up by a limited lifetime warranty, it makes a strong statement that it’s going to be the only laser sight you’ll ever need.
Windage and elevation adjustments allow precise adjustments of the laser, and a safe off feature prevents accidental activation. However, being a versatile laser sight, it also compromises and provides a less than ideal option for any specific weapon. Ambidextrous activation is a nice feature, but for a rifle sight, that means reaching out to activate it, which wastes precious moments. Overall, it still provides one of the best rifle laser sight options and gets our full recommendation.
|Type||Rail or Ring Mounted|
I’ll cover some extremely cheap gems too, starting with the Pinty Laser Sight. The use of aircraft-grade aluminum as the main body material results in a very durable and shock-resistant sight. As it’s tube-shaped, you’ll need additional mounting components to attach the Pinty to your rifle. Luckily, the packaging includes a clamp for rail mounting, as well as a double-ring clamp.
The green laser of this sight can reach 100 to 300 feet during the day, and up to 1000 feet at night, which is very impressive for the price point. I don’t like the lack of battery life specification, but from the type of battery and laser class, it should be around a dozen hours. Windage and elevation can be adjusted by hand which is always a good thing, and with the inclusion of the button extension cord, Pinty has made quite a package out of this laser sight.
Ideally, we’d all be able to afford the best gear for our rifle, but realistically, compromises have to be made. Pinty Laser Sight will provide a good introductory option to test and see whether a laser sight is a worthwhile investment for you. At this price point, you won’t get the best rifle laser sight, but you’ll get a serviceable, well-built alternative.
|Additional Attachment||Infrared Laser|
|Wavelength||532 nm or 635 nm, 850 nm IR|
|Battery Life||3+ Hours|
From one of the cheapest options, we jump to one of the most expensive ones. Steiner eOptics Dual Beam Aiming Laser Intelligent or DBAL-I2 for short is a high-end option designed for specialized use by law enforcement agencies, military, or civilians.
What sets the Steiner DBAL-I2 apart from the rest is the 850nm infrared laser that is visible at over 250 meters during day or night. With a set of night vision goggles, you’ll be able to take the advantage of this feature and achieve full visibility in the dark, while remaining completely concealed.
Aircraft Aluminum construction provides superb durability to this compact laser sight. Fully adjustable for windage and elevation, the DBAL-I2 also comes with a remote cable port for easier activation. One CR 123A battery provides over 3 hours of battery life, which is plenty for an infrared focused sight.
The most important thing to keep an eye out for when purchasing a Steiner DBAL-I2 is the model designation. These subtle differences can make or break the purchase, as it comes with critical differences in application and usability. The 9003 and 9006 models have a visible green laser, while 9004 and 9005 have a visible red laser. None of them have an IR illuminator, however, they all come with an IR Pointer.
The 9007 PEQ-2 model comes without a visible laser but has an IR illuminator of class 3R. This is model is made for night vision use exclusively and offers nothing for the use with the naked eye. If you’re looking for an all-around option, my suggestion is to buy the 9003 or 9006 models, as the class IIIa green laser is the best option for regular use.
The Steiner DBAL-I2 shows us what can be done when the budget is set aside in favor of technology and features to become one of the best rifle laser sights available. For most consumers, this option is too niche and expensive, but for the right kind of user, it will be a valuable attachment that will only increase shooting capabilities.
|Additional Attachment||Tactical Light|
|Battery Life||1-22 Hours|
Streamlight adds another contender to our best rifle laser sight list with the 88090 ProTac. This model in particular feels more like a tactical light with a laser sight added to it, than the other way around, but this is in no way a detriment. Having a powerful light complementing a red laser dot is very helpful in low light conditions or complete darkness.
The highly capable tactical light delivers up to 1000 lumens for a 270-meter beam at the highest settings, draining the battery in 1.25 hours. At 60 lumens, a 66-meter beam is projected with a lifespan of 20 hours with the CR123A batteries, or 23 hours with the SL-B26 battery pack. Strobe light mode can be used for signaling or disorienting and can last from 2.5 to 3.25 hours, depending on the battery type.
This multi-fuel feature allows you to use either the protected Li-Ion USB rechargeable battery pack or two CR123A lithium batteries. The tail-cap and remote pressure switches are programmable thanks to the TEN-TAP technology, which is a nice addition to the package.
Anodized aluminum construction with an impact-resistant tempered glass lens provides excellent protection against elements and shock damage. With the added limited lifetime warranty, Streamlight 88-090 ProTac offers a great solution for two separate accessories, and one of the best options for a user that needs great tactical light on their rifle.
|Additional Attachment||Tactical Light|
|Battery Life||18 Hours Laser, 48 min Light, 38 min Combined|
Sightmark LoPro Mini Combo is the smaller cousin of the Designator that manages to withstand the recoil of .308 caliber, making it a true contender for the best rifle laser sight. Despite the more compact packaging, LoPro Mini has a tactical light integrated as well as all of the controls you’d expect from a rifle-built sight.
To start off, tactical light shines at 300 lumens to illuminate a wide area in front of the shooter and has several power settings, including strobe light. The main feature of the LoPro Mini is the class IIIA green laser that has a range of 600 yards at night, and 50 yards in the daylight. No tools are required to adjust windage and elevation, as shielded knobs can be turned with hands.
Two buttons on the side can be used to activate the tactical light or laser, as well as the extension pressure plate that securely attaches to the back of the sight. A single-piece mount prevents the sight from diverging from zero and is compatible with Picatinny or Weaver rail. The compact and low profile lets you attach the LoPro Mini on the top rail, where it will not interfere with your optical sights.
The compact design comes at the expense of battery life. One CR123A battery is ample enough to charge the laser for almost 20 hours, but the tactical light, with or without the use of laser, will drain it in less than one. If this tradeoff does not bother you, then the Sightmark LoPro Mini Combo remains a top tier choice for a rifle laser sight.
|Additional Attachment||Tactical Light|
|Wavelength||510-535 nm or 650 nm|
|Battery Life||4+ Hours|
This universal laser sight is one of my favorites which is why it makes an appearance on both the best rifle and pistol laser sight lists. There’s a lot to love about the LaserMax Spartan, and while I don’t think it’s a full-fledged rifle sight, it will be a great addition to a 9mm carbine conversion or other small caliber arms. Having a choice between vivid red or a daytime green laser beam is an excellent start for the Spartan.
Despite being a universal laser sight, Spartan still has a lot of features, including an automatic shut-off timer, windage and elevation adjustment controls and oversized, dual electronic touch pads enable both left and right-handed use. Windage and elevation are adjustable by tools, but at just 1.3 oz of weight, this compromise is well worth considering.
What I like the most about the Spartan is the clever use of the symmetrical design to fit a AAA battery in such a small package. Without this solution, a 4+ hour battery life would seem really poor, but once you realize you can easily change it with an inexpensive battery available everywhere, it becomes more than worth it to consider this tradeoff.
Lack of pressure pad extension is the one serious downside, but for competition shooting, or recreational use, it won’t amount to much. Programmable for steady or high-visibility pulsed beam, and with the 4 to 120 lumen tactical light, LaserMax Spartan makes for a really nice package.
|Additional Attachment||Infrared Laser|
|Battery Life||4+ Hours|
Holosun LS221G is one of the best rifle laser sight options available, simply because of the features present and a very competitive price point for the high-end models. The most important component of the LS221G is the infrared laser emitter, invisible to the human eye, but with the use of night-vision goggles, it can provide unmatched accuracy in total darkness.
High-durability comes as a result of the 7075 T6 Aluminum used for housing material, making the LS221G shockproof, and IP67 Waterproof. Windage and elevation are not adjustable by hand, but the oversized knobs and cutouts allow just about anything to be used as a tool. Holosun’s quick-release mount makes its way to this laser sight as well, allowing the user to attach or remove the sight in a matter of moments.
With the included remote cable switch, Holosun LS221G is one of the best rifle laser sights currently available on the market. It’s not a model that should be considered by the regular user, as the infrared laser really pushes the whole build to a new level of versatility, but also price. However, if you’re specifically looking for an IR laser sight combined with a visible laser, this is definitely one of the best choices.
How to Choose the Best Rifle Laser Sight
Establishing your needs and budget before considering any of the options is the best way to end up with an appropriate laser sight. Features like infrared laser are really cool, but if you’re not willing to spend in the thousands and properly gear up to be able to effectively use it, it’s a feature you don’t really need. It is not a wasted opportunity to skip on it until you really want it and settle for a regular, much more affordable sight in the meantime.
One of the first things to consider is the tactical light. In my opinion, you should always opt for this combination, unless you already have a really good flashlight, and even then, having another light source as a failsafe at the cost of a few ounces is a good deal. Tactical light doesn’t really come at the expense of the laser unless a specific model compromised battery capacity to include it. Since they can be operated independently or in combination, managing the battery life comes down to the way you use it.
Color of the Laser
Green versus red laser color has been up for debate for years, but the extensive testing proves that the green laser is much brighter, and therefore more visible at the same power. Still, nearly every manufacturer offers a choice between the two, so it’s left to your personal preference, although I recommend the green variant.
Rail-mounted options are typically applicable to Picatinny and Weaver rails, making them versatile and easy to attach. Ring mounted can be an issue depending on the type of rifle, so if you opt for this type, check compatibility with your model, or get the ring to rail connecting piece. Other than that, single-piece mounting attachments will provide better zero holds, so if possible, go with a model with this type of design.
Universal Versus Specialized Laser Sight
The last thing to take into account is whether you’re going with the universal or specialized laser sight. A dedicated rifle laser sight comes with certain advantages that make it a more favorable choice in comparison to universal sights. To start off, certain compromises don’t have to be made to accommodate pistol use, so they end up having a better battery life, stronger tactical light, hand-operated windage, and elevation adjustments, as well as a remote cable switch.
On the other hand, universal options are much lighter and more compact and offer competitive performance for the most part. Despite the lack of remote cable switch and hand-operated adjustment knobs, they can be used on a wider variety of weapon types. If you’re in the market for a single laser sight to interchange between your rifle, shotgun, and pistol, going with a universal option seems like the best move.
Now that we’ve gone through a variety of rifle laser sight options, from budget options that cost a few dozen bucks, to those that step into four digits, it’s up to you to make the choice. If you’re unsure about the model, but you want the best rifle laser sight, then one of the Sightmark’s options will be a great addition to your arsenal.
On the other hand, if the budget is tight, or you just want to see if laser sights are for you, Pinty has an extremely affordable option that will service your weapon just fine. And lastly, if you’re a real enthusiast with deep pockets, Steiner or Holosun laser sights with infrared are the way to go. I hope you make the most out of your purchase and enjoy the experience that the best rifle laser sight brings!